When push comes to shove, it’s hard to find a CEO of a B2B company who sees marketing as the go-to function for business performance. Marketers are constantly challenged by their executive management to demonstrate the effectiveness of their efforts.
Does that mean the CMO role at B2B companies is redundant? And what can marketing do to move itself from a support function into the company’s upper echelons? Continue reading
There’s nothing like being forced out of your comfort zone to give you new ideas and inspiration. And what better way than rapid immersion in not just another business environment, but another culture?
This was the opportunity I was given on a recent visit to South Africa together with a group of business leaders from Denmark. Just a few hours after stepping off the long flight from Europe, we were released into Durban’s Central Business District. It’s a far cry from the sterile, grayscale business district of a northern European city. Colors and sounds line the pavements. People swarm over intersections, dodging the taxi vans, busses and occasional car. It’s an eclectic mix of cultures where urban dwellers dominate, but there are still plenty of people with obviously strong tribal roots.
For the next few hours, we explored the district, interacting with people to learn about their businesses and lives as best we could, sometimes in English, sometimes through an interpreter, and almost always with wild hand gestures. Continue reading
B2B customer case stories follow a fairly simple format of explaining how a product or service solved a specific customer pain. But they don’t necessarily communicate that a company is innovative, or encourage customers to innovate with them. Yet there are good reasons why a repertoire of innovation-focused stories can draw in new customers or stimulate new ideas among existing ones. So why not use them to inspire innovation?
Today’s markets are increasingly demanding evolution, not just adequate performance. And employees are being encouraged to seek out opportunities for incremental or radical innovation. In response, businesses could take the opportunity to highlight case stories about creativity involving their products or services. Continue reading
I had the privilege of spending four days in the South African bush recently. The occasion was a leadership development course together with a group of business leaders from Denmark. Although the purpose wasn’t leisure, for me as a wildlife junkie, there are certainly worse things to do than spend three hours a day on safari!
The course was facilitated by Pete, Mick and Steve from Leading with Humanity. Their mission was to force us to reflect on leadership in business through the power of nature. They knew we’d be put way outside of our comfort zones; that we would feel vulnerable and insecure. And they loved it!
But it’s not only the boundary-breaking exercises that make you take a close look at leadership behaviour. Even more telling was the immersion in nature. Witnessing the wild’s dilemmas first hand is a transcendental experience that reveals an honest reality. The competitive coexistence of the vast array of species in the bush is a worthy aspiration for all walks of life. Learning from it will surely benefit any leader’s performance. Continue reading
Choosing which channels to bet on is something that, quite literally, keeps many marketing and communication professionals awake at night. US-based Software Advice, an online marketing software broker with access to thousands of B2B buyers around the world, has recently published its annual B2B Demand Generation Benchmark report. The report surveyed 200 business-to-business (B2B) marketing professionals in order to understand which channels, offers, content types and technologies they were using to fuel their demand generation programs—and which they found most effective. Continue reading
What’s the purpose of B2B marketing? Ask the question of any attentive marketing student and they’re likely to reel off a description that somewhere, somehow, involves increasing demand for the company’s products. But marketing is also about managing demand, too, which may actually require reducing demand – or moving demand away from particular products in a company’s range. That said, it still seems counter-intuitive to create marketing or sales materials aimed at putting a dent in sales…
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” These magical words are usually attributed to someone famous – perhaps Einstein, Mark Twain or a long list of others depending on who you believe. In any case, there’s plenty of truth in the idea, I think you’ll agree.
I thought again of those words when I attended a seminar held by DABF (Danish-American Business Forum) and found the happy ending to a business fairytale I think of almost every time I see someone trying to go against the status quo in an organization. Continue reading
I recently read an interesting Harvard Business Review blog post “Marketing is Dead” exploring the views of CEOs on Marketing and business credibility. In the post, author Bill Lee states: “…. CEOs have lost all patience. In a devastating 2011 study of 600 CEOs and decision makers by the London-based Fournaise Marketing Group the result was that:
- 73% of them said that CMOs lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth
- 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it will generate increased business
- 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric….” Continue reading
Content can be the most effective resource in your marketing toolkit — especially if it’s based on research.
Reporter Nick Clunn recently wrote an article based on a little-noticed study that showed many school districts didn’t adequately protect student information. His article took a cumbersome study published by Fordham University’s Center on Law and Information Policy and turned it into an easily readable and interesting piece. This is a great example of using market research to produce content relevant to your readers — in this case, every teacher, student, and parent in the country! Continue reading
B2B companies have had mixed experiences with blogs. In fact, we’ve seen countless blog deaths among our B2B clients. These unfortunate blogs were usually started by enthusiastic marketing departments keen to display a vibrant corporate culture—a more human side of the company—to stakeholders in an attempt to build trust and engagement. That’s a great aim, but there are many challenges and pitfalls Continue reading